Legal history will be made at the Old Bailey as the first televised sentencing will take place, the Ministry of Justice has announced.

On Thursday, Judge Sarah Munro QC is expected to be filmed as she passes the sentence on Ben Oliver for the manslaughter of his grandfather.

The footage will be broadcast on news channels and made available online through Sky News, BBC, ITN and the PA news agency.

The move to allow cameras in the Crown Court follows a change in the law in 2020, but implementation was delayed in the pandemic.

Daily Echo: Old Bailey. (PA)Old Bailey. (PA) It will open up some of the most high-profile courts and allow the public to see and hear judges explain the reasoning behind their sentences.

Only the judge will be filmed during any sentencing to protect the privacy of victims, witnesses and jurors.

Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said: “Opening up the courtroom to cameras to film the sentencing of some the country’s most serious offenders will improve transparency and reinforce confidence in the justice system.

“The public will now be able to see justice handed down, helping them understand better the complex decisions judges make.”

Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Burnett of Maldon, hailed the move as a “very positive” step in promoting open justice.

He said: “I think it’s an exciting development, because it will help the public to understand how and why criminals get the sentences that they do in these very high-profile cases.”

Daily Echo: The Old Bailey (PA)The Old Bailey (PA)

Cameras already operate in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court but bringing them to the Crown Court is a “significant development”, he said.

He countered critics of bringing cameras into criminal courts by saying judges already pass sentences in open court, with the press and public present.

He added: “The broadcasting of the sentencing remarks will focus solely on the judge who will be sitting in court in the normal way, wearing his or her robes in the normal way.

“The solemnity of the proceedings are preserved entirely.”

The Central Criminal Court in London routinely hears some of the most complex cases, including murders and terrorism trials.

The sentencing of Ben Oliver will take place in Court Two, one of the Old Bailey’s oldest courtrooms.

The 25-year-old defendant from Bexleyheath, south London, admitted the manslaughter of 74-year-old David Oliver, in Mottingham, south London, on January 19 last year.

Ben Oliver was said to have Autistic Spectrum Disorder, which combined with other emotional and mental factors, diminished his responsibility for the killing.

Sky, BBC, ITN and PA will be able to apply to film and broadcast sentencing remarks.

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